Care for the elderly in Northumberland.

The Corbridge Family Fun Day

By 28th August 2018

The rain didn’t stop play at the Corbridge Family Fun Day on Sunday.

There was a great atmosphere, (even though the cricketers were sometimes a bit damp), and we had a good turnout even though the skies were cloudy.

After an exciting match, the Corbridge Youth-Initiative won the Corbridge Cricket Competition and were presented with the shield.

Steve Betts won the Quoits Competition, that was organised by Maurice Hodgson.

The children and families really enjoyed the variety of stalls, bouncy castle, children’s games and tuckshop.

Our brilliant volunteers, plus ladies from the Corbridge Cricket Club and Corbridge Youth-Initiative provided a wonderful spread for afternoon tea, and the celebrations continued into the evening with a BBQ, full bar and some great singing.

THANK YOU to all those who came to the event, the cricket players and the group of dedicated volunteers who organised the day so well.

(Pictures taken by Ian Wylie of Visit Corbridge and our own Trustee Bill Cunningham.)

Unveiling of the Centenary Wall Hanging

By 22nd August 2018

The Wallhanging with Lesley Thirlwell, Lady Allendale and members of the Crafty Women.


Residents, staff and volunteers gathered at Charlotte Straker House this week to see Lady Allendale unveil a remarkable wall hanging to commemorate the role Charlotte Straker has played in providing 100 years of care to the local community.

The wall hanging was designed and made by members of Corbridge’s group of Crafty Women. The three panels reflect the historic nature of the village and the importance of community, with the depiction of the river symbolising the flow of care that Charlotte Straker has provided over the years.

The techniques used to create the hanging also depict the diversity of skills within the Crafty Women group and include embroidery, crochet, quilting, weaving, knitting and applique. John Upton made the mounts for each panel as well as the wonderful display frame.

Rosie Cunningham from the Crafty Women – “We are all delighted to see the wall hanging displayed in Charlotte Straker House. Many hours of hard work, design and crafting went into the piece, and it is a remarkable work of art. Thank you to everyone who gave up their time to work on the hanging, and to Lady Allendale who came to unveil the piece.”

Tessa, Lady Allendale added – “It’s wonderful to think 100 years ago, my husband’s great grandmother Alexandrina Allendale officially opened the Charlotte Straker Cottage Hospital, and I’m very honoured to be asked to unveil the Centenary wall hanging.

The amount of work that has gone into the piece is staggering and it’s fabulous to see it in its rightful place in the dining room of Charlotte Straker House.

More recently, my husband’s uncle, the late Matthew Beaumont, spent time in Charlotte Straker and I saw with my own eyes the extraordinary work that is done here. We look forward to many more centenaries to come”.

Our Head Cook created a marvellous centenary cake and everyone enjoyed a delicious afternoon tea, prosecco and pink champagne to celebrate the unveiling.

Thank you to everyone who participated to make this afternoon such a success!

The Centenary cake

Before the unveiling

The Centenary tapestry

Viscount and Viscountess Allendale viewing a book on the Wall hanging created by a member of the Crafty Women

The cake and afternoon tea.

Before the unveiling, and our visitors enjoying the speeches.

Lady Allendale and Lesley Thirlwell cutting the Centenary cake.

Looking through Beamish Museum’s “Reminiscence Box”

By 20th August 2018

Last week our residents enjoyed the chance to look through a “Reminiscence Box” from the Beamish Museum.

The theme of the box was “Going Out” and it contained a wide variety of vintage items such as hair curlers, a flat smoothing iron, nylons, vinyl records, a powder puff, men’s shaving kit, dance hall tickets and lots of photos.

It was an opportunity for residents to chat and compare notes about the nostalgic items, and led to some great conversations about the “old days”.

This is something that we will definitely do again – thank you to Beamish museum and the volunteer who kindly collected the box to take to Charlotte Straker House.


“Charlotte Straker is absolutely wonderful”…a post from our recent respite care resident.

By 14th August 2018

Joan Barnes is our most recent respite care resident and is staying at Charlotte Straker House for two weeks.

She admits that she wasn’t keen to come to Charlotte Straker, and worried that “the staff might not like me, and I might not like them”, but since staying with us for a couple of days, she told us that she has definitely changed her mind. “The staff are absolutely wonderful: kind; welcoming; and always smiling”, she says, “they are always ready to help you, and I don’t feel guilty if I need to ask for anything. It ticks all the boxes.”

Joan has joined in all the many activities, including making felt poppies for the World War One Centenary, had her hair done in our salon and also had a complimentary massage with Naturel Therapies. She told us that she loved having a “proper, glorious bath. I hate showers, and don’t have a bath at home, so it was wonderful to have a long, luxurious deep bath.” She has really appreciated the home made meals, “the food is glorious and so tasty. I think I might have put on some weight since staying here” she laughs.

She told us that she was very worried about staying with us, but all her fears were unfounded, “I’ve had my eyes opened. I wasn’t keen on entering a care home as I’ve heard such stories, but Charlotte Straker House is absolutely wonderful.”

Our Community Respite Care Bed is now taking bookings for 2019 – for more information on our short stay free of charge respite care please ring our Deputy Manager on 01434 633999.

The picture below shows Joan with our Housekeeper Nicola Pick and our Senior Carer Karen Dover.

Running Hadrian’s Wall in only 2 days!

By 13th August 2018

Alex Brown (son of our Chair of Trustees Berenice Groves) will be walking the full Hadrian’s Wall Route, in only 2 days, to raise money for our charity.

On Sunday the 19th August he will be aiming to walk and run the entire length of 84 miles, without any stops on the way.

We are always delighted when anyone fund raises on our behalf, and we want to say a huge “GOOD LUCK!” to Alex on his 2 day journey.

To donate to Alex’s charity walk please visit the following link. Thank you in advance!…

Supporting the Charlotte Straker runners at the 2018 Great North Run.

By 1st August 2018

We have five intrepid volunteers who are running the 2018 Great North Run (on 9th September) to raise money for the Charlotte Straker Project.

We are incredibly grateful when individuals raise money on our behalf, and we want to support them in any way we can!

The first of our runners is Drew Wilkinson.

Drew is a keen runner from Riding Mill and 10 years ago he completed the Great North Run in a staggering 1 hour and 30 mins. He is hoping to match his time a decade on. Can he do it? We think so!

Please dig deep to sponsor Drew and to support us at the Charlotte Straker Project – we rely on donations to improve facilities and equipment in our care home which contributes significantly to the well being of our residents. We also provide one free of charge community respite bed which has already helped 42 families and their loved ones with essential respite care.

Drew can be sponsored at:

Good luck Drew – we’ll be cheering you on!


Holly from Norma James of Corbridge visits our resident Mary for a chat

By 29th July 2018

Holly Atkinson from Norma James of Corbridge popped in for a cup of tea and a chat with our resident Mary Robson, who worked for over 30 years at the designer boutique.

Mary moved into one of our brand new ensuite rooms at Charlotte Straker House in May this year.

Mary told us how she started work at 15 at “high class tailors” Willoughby and Purvis in Fore Street in Hexham. She then moved to Kathleen Queen’s dress shop at the top of Battle Hill and then from there, she was invited to work at Norma James.

On her first day she was asked to help “dress” the window with a selection of the shop’s designs, and she did such a good job she continued to dress the window each week, for the next 30 years.

“Norma always designed the Christmas shop windows, and she dressed them beautifully, with vases of seasonal flowers”, Mary told us. “I used to choose the clothes and accessories for each week for the mannequins in the window and I loved the creativity of the job, and having the responsibility of deciding which outfits to feature and display.”

Mary obviously has a real eye for colour and design and she described her favourite outfit – a navy blue skirt from the designer Basler, paired with a neat primrose yellow jacket and blouse embroidered with matching primrose accents.

She then told us about choosing her wedding outfit in 1974.

“I really wanted a peach coloured suit, but couldn’t find anything suitable. So I went to Newcastle and walked around Binns, Fenwicks and Bainbridge’s until I suddenly saw a gorgeous navy suit – with a short skirt, a white bibbed blouse and tailored jacket. I bought it immediately, and was married in navy blue!”

Mary told us that Norma James used to regularly buy over 600 pieces from the Basler design house, and some patrons would visit the shop to buy every single item from the collection in their size, to wear in the following season. In those days, smart tweed suits were very popular, paired with matching hats and accessories.

“There were some extremely smart ladies, perfectly turned out in tailored suits. They were very stylish! I became friends with many of the society ladies from Hexham and Corbridge and used to dedicate a whole morning to helping them select outfits for the coming season.” she said.

When she left Norma James, Mary partnered with her sister, and set up her own dress shop in Heddon on the Wall, called Delmar Fashions which featured lots of outfits from Bellino and other similar designers.

Holly and Mary had a great chat about past and present customers and staff, and before she left Holly presented Mary with a £100 voucher from Norma James of Corbridge and a card with hand written best wishes from the staff.

Mary said, “I loved working with Norma, and made some great friends at the shop. I’m going to really enjoy choosing an outfit with the voucher – thank you so much to the staff at Norma James Clothing and to Holly for coming in to have a chat about the old days in Corbridge – it’s really made my day.”

Holly and Mary chatting over a cup of tea and piece of cake.


Corbridge Family Fun Day – 26th August 2018

By 16th July 2018

This is THE event of the Summer!

The Corbridge Family Fun Day will be held on Sunday 26th August 2018 at the Corbridge Cricket Club.

It’s a FREE OF CHARGE event, and is held to benefit ourselves, our good friends Corbridge Youth-Initiative and the Corbridge Cricket Club 

Live music is provided by the very talented Callum Harbottle, plus local band Undershield and the Hexham based Rock Choir.

Last year was a huge success, with lots of visitors including local families and children who watched a great game of cricket, browsed all the stalls, tucked into afternoon tea, the BBQ and enjoyed the live music. We also raised over £2,000 (which was split between the three charities) and we hope to do even better this year.

The Corbridge Cricket Club won the 2017 Corbridge Charity Shield, but we think it might be the turn of the Charlotte Straker cricketing team in 2018…

The organisers are asking for donations of cakes and bakes for their cake stall (please drop off in the morning of 26th August at the Cricket Club) plus tombola items (please drop off at Charlotte Straker House). Thank you!

Please put the date in your diary and let your friends and family know!

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